Apr 23, 2018

We were on the verge of extiction

sea turtles
sea turtles

Last year at this time we were on the verge of extinction, just like some of the animals that we protect.   

There is much competition for funding out there, lots of worthy causes and urgent support is always needed.   Small non-profits like ours have a hard time getting the funding to maintain our programs.   

In March 2017, we were debating whether we could maintain our programs.  We needed to reduce our environmental education program from 22 schools to 6 schools and we thought we would have to cut our sea turtle conservation program.   Our already office staff was going to be reduced also.   

Then, my 16-year-old nephew Isaac came up with the idea of helping us fundraise from his home town in Chicago.  He reached out to his friends and school mates and raised a $1000 USD for our turtle conservation program.  That was not enough to maintain our program, but it was a beginning.   He gave us hope.  The power of one!  Take a look at the video attached to see how he did it!  

Together with Isaac’s effort, other friends of the foundation stepped up and pitched in the rest of the money that was needed.  We thank you for your ongoing support. 

Last year we helped protect 125 sea turtle nests in Playa Rincon and we supported the efforts in Playa Rio Oro.  Every year is a new struggle, and a new challenge!  Here are some of the achievements of 2017 and which would not have been possible without your collaboration:

  • We collected the money and will be starting the construction of a pedestrian bridge for the Drake Bay River between Progreso and Drake Bay area, which will make it safer for the students and the community in general, since they wont need to cross this dangerous river by foot any more.
  • 137 teachers from the Regional Department of Terraba trained in the Education Guidelines for Sustainable Development Workshop.
  • 6 Drake schools, with a total of 137boys and girls, received environmental education monthly or bimonthly.
  • 40 children from 4 environmental groups carrying out environmental activities in their community.
  • 1 youth group implementing environmental education and environmental actions in their community.
  • Our organization supported the creation of the Junior Ranger Program for the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve.
  • 44 volunteers recruited to support the turtle conservation projects at Playa Rincón and Río Oro Beach. A total of 12 volunteers have collaborated at Playa Rincón and 32 volunteers at the Río Oro Beach.
  • In collaboration with the Osa Foundation, we have supported the protection of Playa de Rincón, where a total of 125 nests have been reported from August to date.  93 of these nests were relocated to the nursery and only 9% were lost due to poaching or predation.

Links:

Apr 16, 2018

It is like a dream come true after 40 years!

Community members working on the bridge
Community members working on the bridge

“It is like a dream come true… after 40 years!”   These were the words of our local liaison in Osa when we first opened ground to build the pedestrian bridge in El Progreso. 

Mayra and her family have lived in the Drake Bay area for more than 40 years, and they could not have imagined the day that they would actually be able to cross the Drake Bay river by bridge.  40 years!   For 40 years her family and her friends have been forced to cross the river by foot to go back and forward from Agujitas to Progreso.  Children needed to cross it to go to their nearest highschool and mothers needed to cross it to take their children to the doctor.   Several times a year the rains would come, and the river became unpassable.    It was normal to see students or workers on one side of the river, waiting for the waters to succumb, so that they could go home. Many risked their lives to make it to the other side.

 Our organization is an environmental conservation organization, but we determined many years ago that our mission was to promote the sustainable use of the natural resources: “working with people to protect nature” is our motto.   And our people, the community we serve, needed help.  So, we knocked on the door of our friends and allies.  Friends like you!

You donated and other friends donated and finally with two large gifts from the Interamerican foundation and one of our advisory members our organization was able to raise enough funding to start working.  We pitched the idea to another of our members:  La Clinica Biblica.  They donated the engineering services and the structural plans.   The community will continue donating their time and labor for an approximate value of $15,000 USD.

 We are changing lives!  Thank you for your support!  You can continue to support this and other social development projects that our organization is promoting by donating to https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/osa-community-support-fund/

 

 

Community members working on the bridge 2
Community members working on the bridge 2
Community members working on the bridge3
Community members working on the bridge3
Community members working on the bridge 3
Community members working on the bridge 3
Apr 5, 2018

Finding the elusive Jaguar!

Children receiving environmental education@ school
Children receiving environmental education@ school

 

Many people come to Osa in search of the rainforest and all its beauty.  But let’s be honest, we all hope that we leave with a sight of the elusive Jaguar.   Instead, most tourist leave with wonderful memories of monkeys, tamanduas, sloths, macaws and toucans.  Not bad for a vacation at all.

I remember hanging out with a friend in the Carate area and spending the night on the side of a river in hopes that we could see a Jaguar.   Later, after working in conservation for two decades in this area, I have come to the conclusion that, although we never saw it, the jaguar was probably watching us all the time.   Although we are always hoping to find a jaguar, we are happy that we can see healthy populations of other species, which lead us to think that the ecosystem is healthy.

According to a Yale study “Scientists have recently begun to understand the vital role played by top predators in ecosystems and the profound impacts that occur when those predators are wiped out. Now, researchers are citing new evidence that shows the importance of lions, wolves, sharks, and other creatures at the top of the food chain”[i].

Unfortunately, this is changing. Jaguars and pumas in the Osa Peninsula have become scarcer every year.  According to some studies performed by fellow local conservationists, there are only 20 jaguars in the area.  Authorities believe that they are hunted for their fur or killed by local communities.  Local people fear that a jaguar or a puma could kill their pets, their cattle, or even their kids.   Fear and profit has jeopardized the survival of felines in the Osa Peninsula and in the country.

Helena, our environmental educator and our volunteers have been working in schools and with the environmental groups promoting the understanding and the conservation of felines and their ecosystems. Children are learning to recognize footprints of different animals. They are also learning about their behavior and their role on the ecosystems. In search of the elusive jaguar, these children suggested that we could organize a field trip through Corcovado National Park and we did.  But we were unsuccessful in finding the jaguar.  They were disappointed, but they also realized who special these predators are.By learning about their importance and their role, we hope that these children will be able to defend these beautiful animals from ignorance and greed.  “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”  Baba Dioum

Our environmental education program has been generating awareness to hundreds of kids every year, since 2003.  This program is important not only because it is teaching this new generation to love nature, but because it is empowering children to become the future leaders of their communities.  Children that have participated in the program have shown amazing progress in their lives.  They have shown more interest on completing their high school and on following a career path or in becoming entrepreneurs, something unthinkable for their parents.

We are very grateful for your support! You have made all these and more possible by trusting our organization.   Consider making a monthly donation to help us plan and maintain our programs active.

Thank you again for your support and please allow me to remind you of some of the things that we achieved together:  

  1. 137 teachers from the Regional Department of Terraba trained in the Education Guidelines for Sustainable Development Workshop.
  2. 6 Drake schools, with a total of 137 boys and girls, received environmental education monthly or bimonthly.
  3. 40 children from 4 environmental groups carrying out environmental activities in their community.
  4. 1 youth group implementing environmental education and environmental actions in their community.
  5. Our organization supported the creation of the Junior Ranger Program for the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve.

[i] https://e360.yale.edu/features/the_crucial_role_of_predators_a_new_perspective_on_ecology

Children
Children's drawings about animals footprints
Children learning w/ parkrangers @ Corcovado
Children learning w/ parkrangers @ Corcovado

Links:

 
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